Brown v. City of Montgomery (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
Petitioner was a police officer, and later police chief, employed by the City of Montgomery. In 2011, Petitioner’s employment was terminated. Petitioner filed a complaint against the City and the Mayor (collectively, Respondents), asserting that he was discharged without a pre-termination hearing in violation of W. Va. Code 8-14A-1 and in contravention of public policy because he refused to place a GPS tracking device in another officer’s police car. The circuit court granted Respondents’ motion to dismiss, concluding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; and (2) Respondents were entitled to qualified immunity because Respondents’ alleged conduct did not violate clearly established laws of which a reasonable official would have known. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the circuit court properly ruled that Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; but (2) Petitioner’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to support a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of a substantial public policy, and therefore, Respondents were not entitled to qualified immunity from Petitioner’s cause of action for wrongful discharge.